UNEXPECTED PETS IN YOUR POOL

imageHow many times have you heard noises in your backyard and sort of freak out? You think to yourself, “What was that?!? Raccoons, possum fight, cat brawl – what could be creating such a blood-curdling sound?”  You go outside to investigate only to find an unexpected visitor taking a dip in your pool!

It is not unusual to find an animal in your pool and most of them don’t pose a health risk to people, especially if you have a well maintained pool that will help kill off the germs.

Here are some things you can do to either remove them from the pool or prevent them from entering it in the first place. Pool alarms, fences and ramps are 3 affordable ways to create a safe way for the little critters to escape the water on their own or prevent them from entering the water at all. Do not try to handle a wild animal on your own. Call your local animal rescue center and ask for a professional to remove the animal and safely reintroduce to their natural habitat.

Sometimes, not all of the guests have the same fate. If you walk out and find that something has died in your pool, here are some steps to consider to properly remove the animal from the pool.

  • Don’t allow anyone to swim in the pool.
  • Put on disposable gloves.
  • Use a net or bucket to remove the animal from the pool. Double bag the animal in plastic garbage bags.
  • Clean the bucket or net you used to remove the animal.
  • Take off the gloves and put them in the garbage.
  • Put all garbage bags into a concealed trash can.
  • Wash your hands immediately.
  • Maintain the free chlorine in the pool at 2 ppm. Maintain the pH levels at 7.5 or less, and keep the temperature of your Orlando pools at 77°F or higher. The free chlorine and pH should remain at these levels for 30 minutes.
  • Make sure that the filtration system is working properly.
  • Disinfect the bucket or net you used by putting it in the pool for 30 minutes.

Remember – Call EASY POOLS if you are interested in building a pool or need help maintaining it.

 

EAT, WISH AND LOVE

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We want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Easy Pools is very thankful for each and every one of our loyal customers who has supported and trusted us with their pools all year long.
 
Having happy and satisfied customers is such a rewarding experience. It is what motivates our company each day to bring you superior customer service and to be better and bigger each year.
 
Thank you for your reviews, referrals and great feedback throughout the year. Hearing from our customers allows us to better serve you and we appreciate you taking the time to tell us how we did.
 
We are excited to see what 2016 will bring and how many new families (and pools) we are able to help.
Happy holidays from the Easy Pools family & may all your wishes come true!
 
Remember that if your neighbor’s pool is looking spectacular all year long, they are using Easy Pools!
Complementary Christmas Cookie Recipe below:
 
Enjoy!
 
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Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 package (10 to 12 ounces) white baking chips
 
Directions:
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time,
beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
 
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins, cranberries and orange peel. Stir in baking chips.
 
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.
 
Yield: 6 dozen.

EASY POOLS NOVEMBER BLOG – 10 Reasons to Build Your Pool During the Fall or Winter

Many people believe the best time of year to build an in ground swimming pool is during the spring. This way you have a few months to plan, design and build your pool right before the temperatures start to rise and the summer heat kicks into full gear. Makes sense, right? Well, actually it’s quite the opposite. It is actually more beneficial for homeowners to build their pools towards the end of the year than at the beginning. Here are the top 10 reasons to build your pool during the fall or winter –

  • By waiting until the weather begins to cool, you miss the busiest time of pool- building season. This gives you a much better chance at finding a contractor without a lot of other jobs to divert their attention.
  • The moderate temperatures of fall are very conducive to working outside. The construction team won’t be thinking about how long it is until they can get inside in the air conditioning, meaning they can concentrate fully on building your pool. It also eliminates the possibility of heat exhaustion for the builders as well.
  • After you have the swimming pool of your dream, you will probably want to add to the overall aesthetics of your personal oasis and add some landscaping. We ask you, “What type of weather do you want to be outside working in?”
  • As the height of pool season winds down, pool contractors begin looking at their year-end numbers. This may open the window for you to negotiate better prices or take advantage of overstocked or soon to be discontinued inventory.
  • If you start building in spring, with the hopes of having the pool built in time for birthdays, holidays, that first 100o day, etc., an unexpected spring shower can really set back production. If you start in the fall, you can rest easy knowing that your pool will be up and ready to go for summer.
  • In Texas, we all know of the very real possibility of having our first heat wave as early as April and May. Getting your pool built in fall means when the temperatures being to rise in the spring, you are already prepared to start spending time in your new pool.
  • Most pools are not complete without the addition of a surrounding deck, patio or concrete walkway. Construction of the pool deck usually comes after the pool is built. Building the pool in fall allows you to split up the construction of pool and deck, and gives you a chance to save money all winter for the completion of the deck.
  • With any pool construction project, your yard and landscape can take a beating. Fall construction gives your yard a chance to recover over the winter before summer comes.
  • If you are installing a spa or hot tub along with your new pool, what better time to enjoy it than during the fall and winter months?
  • Taxes – As you approach the end of the year remember that your pool is not only a major purchase but also is considered a home improvement. For those of you who don’t know, home improvements can be claimed on your taxes. Imagine enjoying your new swimming pool in the spring and getting a nice tax refund within weeks of each other. Talk about complete backyard, pool-side zen.If you haven’t already noticed, the calendars all say November and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Take advantage of this ideal time of year and give Easy Pools a call to begin designing your dream pool today!

EASY POOLS OCTOBER 2015 BLOG – EASY POOL TIPS FOR THE FALL SEASON!

Untitled-3Many Central Texans have the luxury of using  their pools longer than most homeowners around the county. However, as September comes around, it’s time for Austin pool owners to start preparing their pools for their winter hibernation. Pools are an investment that every family enjoys having. So, if you have a pool you may want to protect that investment.

 

Before the leaves begin piling up in your pool you will have to get it ready to stay dormant during the winter. Not only will this protect the pool during the fall and winter, but it will make it much easier to open come summer. If you have a pool this has to be one soon. So,take some time to review the process and ensure you get it right. This will help re-opening the pool next summer from being too much of a task.

 

Easy steps of how to close your pool ahead of autumn:

 

KEEP IT CHEMICALLY BALANCED

 

  • Making sure the chemical balance of your pool water is correct b

efore closing is crucial to avoid corroding or forming scale on the sides of your pool. This will also keep the thousands of gallons you have in your pool clean and ready to use next summer. Remember, getting the levels right as well as monitoring them is crucial to keeping all that water clear through winter.

  • To begin, start about one week before you plan to close your pool. Clean any debris from your pool, and then test the pH, total alkalinity, and calcium

hardness. The pH should be between 7.2 – 7.6 and Alkalinity between 100

-150 ppm. Pools that are lined with gunite (dry mixture of cement and aggregate sprayed through a hose at high pressure that is combined with water at the nozzle) require somewhat lower alkalinity than those with fiberglass or concrete. Many pool services recommend 120 ppm as a good overall benchmark. Calcium hardness should be 180-220 ppm.

  • Next, shock the pool to control algae. The chlorine level in the pool to be rather high (over 3.0 for wintertime).
  • Lastly, cycle the water through the pump and filter for a few days until chlorine levels to return to normal. Then add winter algaecide.

 

 

THE FILTRATION SYSTEM

 

Cleaning your pool’s filter system is a process that varies depending on the type of filter you have. These steps will change depending whether you have a cartridge, sand or diatomaceous earth filter. All three vary, but should include the manufacturer’s directions that can be used for guidance.

 

 

FINISH UP AND INSTALL THE COVER

 

Just a few more steps and your pool will be prepared for the colder months ahead. First make sure that your pool’s water is drained properly. The surface should rest below the skimmer openings. Depending on the kind of pool the recommended distance below the skimmer will vary. Next take out the directional fittings and install freeze plugs. After this you can shut off your pump, drain out all of your pool equipment and begin loading it up wherever you choose.

 

After this, it is time to lay down the cover. You will likely need assistance for this and will have to be careful. It is best not to walk on the pool cover.

That’s it! You’re all done and your pool is now protected from the colder

Temperatures ahead. Remember, the only time you want ice in or near your pool is when it’s in a margarita during summertime!

 

For more information, call Easy Pools at 512-266-6592. Online scheduling

for maintenance and repairs is also available at www.EasyPools.com

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WATSU®…An aquatic pain reliever?

Finally, there is a non-invasive, non-addictive approach to temporary pain relief. If you or someone you know battles with pain management, you know how challenging and time consuming it can be to live a “normal”, pain-free life.

 

WATSU®, Water Shiatsu or Floating Lotus therapy are some of the names used for this type of massage and joint pain therapy. It has been described as “the most relaxing kind of body work in the world”. It uses the principles of Zen Shiatsu, which strengthens muscles and increases flexibility. It combines elements of massage, joint mobilization, shiatsu, muscle stretching and dance. WATSU® is described as a “touch” therapy that instantly creates a feeling of total relaxation.

 

So, what is WATSU® exactly? It is a form of water therapy, which focuses on the relief of joint and muscle pain. This form of body work, or water massage, is done in a warm shallow pool, as water has always been known to act as a transmitter for energy and relaxation.

 

This almost weightless, three-dimensional environment makes it possible to move and stretch in deeply beneficial ways that are simply not possible to achieve on the massage table. You are continuously held as the practitioner moves you through gentle stretches, massage and trigger point work, releasing muscular and joint restrictions. With the weight off the vertebra and joints, water allows much greater movement and flexibility of the core musculature, spine and joints. This makes it possible for WATSU® stretches to be quite different than any on land. Pre-natal and post-natal WATSU® classes are also available.

 

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The water is kept warm, around 92°, for comfort and to facilitate deeper relaxation. The warm water also helps create a connection between a person’s heart and their breathing. The patient is supported in warmth and safety, which allows the muscles and fascia to become free to give up their long held patterns of holding onto tension and pain. The mind is now free to quiet itself and receive this new, tranquil energy.

 

WATSU® will benefit nearly every client, however, WATSU® may be most valuable for those clients who are having difficulty working on functional activities secondary to pain, muscle spasm, or spasticity. The following are some of the client populations which may benefit from WATSU®® as part of their treatment program:

 

  • Orthopedic impairments
  • Neurological impairments
  • Arthritis
  • Etc.

 

If you love water, especially warm water body work and energy work, this is for you. WATSU®’s physical and stress-reducing effects are deep, long lasting, and profound. WATSU® is used around the world by professional body-workers, physical therapists, and psychologists as well as the general public.

 

If you are ready to become more in touch with your inner self or you are looking for relief from chronic pain or muscle discomfort, we recommend you try WATSU® at the Floating Lotus. It a local facility in Austin and we have had a few of our own employees take on the experience of WATSU® themselves. Needless to say, they absolutely LOVED it! The average cost is around $95.00. For first timers you can experience an introductory session for around $70.00. Other types of Water Classes offered are:

 

  • Aqua Yoga
  • Water Aerobics
  • Water Tai Chi

 

You can find out more by visiting www.floatinglotuswatsuaustin.com.

WATER CHEMISTRY MYTHS REVEALED

This year’s Austin summer has been the best so far keeping it under 100o!!! As we enjoy our days by the pool, we are constantly reminded of certain pool water myths that can make you hesitant to enjoy some poolside fun. Well, we thought we would clear a few up for you so you can enjoy your pool worry free! Here are the six most common myths in pool-water chemistry.
 

THERE’S TOO MUCH CHLORINE IN THE POOL – YOU CAN SMELL IT!

Does this swim-team mom cry sound familiar? The truth is, when you smell it, that’s not chlorine! Too little chlorine in the pool for days is the result of ammonia-type introduction. What you actually smell is urine, sweat and decomposing organic matter, which produces ammonia compounds in the chlorine. These are also the sources of the odor and irritation.
 

GREEN HAIR IN BLONDES IS CAUSED BY TOO MUCH CHLORINE

Not at all. Green hair is actually caused by copper in the water – but not right away during a swim. Copper is a metal that is found in some swimming pools, particularly ones that are filled using well water. Copper can also enter the pool water from certain copper-based algaecides. Your hair turning green as a result of copper usually occurs long after the pool water has dried in the hair. The culprit could be a couple of things:
 

First, the operator might have, inadvertently, allowed copper (pipes, heater, impeller) to be dissolved by the water in the pool. Error two is the swimmer’s fault. She or he didn’t shower (rinse) or even towel dry the pool-wet hair. It dried with that half cup of copper-bearing water leaving its contents behind. To avoid a hair mishap you can follow these simple steps:
 

  • Some algaecides contain copper, and are very effective in killing algae,but they can also cause staining and, of course, green hair. Look for polyquat algaecides to use in your pool as a weekly algae preventative, such as Algaecide 60. Or don’t use algaecide at all and just keep your chlorine level in check.
  • If you have metals in your water, be sure to remove them by using a chemical that removes metals in the water or a pre-filter that you can attach to your garden hose while filling your pool
  • You can also protect your hair by using a leave-in conditioner before swimming. Also, wash and rinse your hair as soon as you get out of the pool. FYI – Everybody, by the way, gets green hair under this sequence of events, it just shows up better in bleached blondes.

 

THE IDEAL pH FOR ANY POOL WATER IS 7.4

This is impossible to know. In reality, there is no “ideal” anything. The water’s hardness, other Calcium Saturation Index (CSI) variables, and even the values read from the make-up (fill) water help you determine the most appropriate value. In general, the best pH is the lowest pH you can get away with. Chlorine works much better at lower pH values.

 

POOL-WATER CHEMISTRY IS MADE UP OF CHLORINE AND pH.

Actually, chlorine has nothing to do with the balance in pool water chemistry. Temperature, pH levels, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and – to a minute degree – total dissolved solids make up the group of five variables commonly used to calculate the CSI. This numerical index is the most preferred way to determine the water’s so-called balance. The CSI helps predict the water’s aggressiveness, its scaling potential, or the state of balance between those extremes. Chlorine is simply the necessary oxidizer/sanitizer compound one adds to the nicely balanced water.

 

WHEN A DPD CHLORINE TEST FLASHES A LITTLE PINK THEN TURNS CRYSTAL CLEAR, YOUR WATER HAS ALMOST NO CHLORINE IN IT

The opposite is true! More spas are fried and bathing suits bleached because of this error than just about any other. As you know, the universally accepted DPD test for chlorine turns progressively more pink as higher residuals are detected in the sample… that is until the indicator is itself turns clear. Many, many untrained pool owners have dumped excessive amounts of chlorine in their water (most often in hot whirlpools or spas), thinking all along that for some crazy reason they just hadn’t yet put enough in to get a reading! In a small bodies of water this testing error has resulted in creating some very unsafe, damaging or at least unpleasant conditions.
 

HIGH HARDNESS MAKES CLOUDY, SCALY WATER.

False. It takes a very high pH (well above your state’s code) to precipitate calcium scale. If you keep your pH reasonable — we hope in the low sevens so your chlorine is producing serious CSI— you can run your hardness up to 1000 ppm or even higher with brilliantly clear, non-scaling water. Even if the calcium saturation index is positive your water will not scale at all unless the pH exceeds 8.0.

 

WHAT NOT TO DO

You can’t do an adequate and safe job thinking that tossing in a little chlorine while holding some good pH/chlorine test-kit readings will take care of that chemistry stuff just fine. Please don’t do it!

 
5 CHEMICALS LEVELS THAT EVERY POOL OWNER SHOULD KNOW

◦ FC – Free Chlorine – A sanitizer that keeps your pool water safe and free of germs. Chlorine must be constantly replenished. (level depends on CYA)
◦ PH – Acidity/Alkalinity – Needs to be kept in balance to prevent irritation and protect the pool equipment. (7.5 to 7.8)
◦ TA – Total Alkalinity – Appropriate levels help keep the PH in balance. High levels can cause PH to rise. (60 to 120, sometimes higher)
◦ CH – Calcium Hardness – Appropriate levels help prevent plaster damage. High levels can cause calcium scaling. (220 to 350, vinyl lower)
◦ CYA – Cyanuric Acid – Protects chlorine from sunlight and determines the required FC level. (outdoors 30 to 50, SWG 70 to 80, indoors 0 to 20)

 

If you fail to properly care of your water chemistry you can put your loved ones and your pool at risk of the following:

  • Eye and skin irritation
  • Staining
  • Unsightly wrinkles in vinyl liners
  • Interferes with the efficiency of sanitizers
  • Corrosion of metals (pump seals, heaters, lights, etc.)
  • Cloudy water
  • Scale build-up (white chalky appearance) on pool surface as well as inside filter and heater
  • Pitting and corrosion of gunite/concrete pools

 
Proper water balance is the single most important factor to maximizing the life and appearance of any swimming pool. Making sure your pool care technician is certified is essential! Certifications are becoming mandatory by many state agencies. Remember – you can always reach out to us at EasyPools.com and we will take care of you and your pool.

FOURTH OF JULY POOLSIDE COCKTAILS

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When I think of the Fourth of July, I think of coolers full of beer, steaks grilling on the barbecue, and big bowls of pasta salad. Beer, steak, and pasta…not exactly the best things to be putting in your body while you’re traipsing around poolside in a teeny bikini or a pair of swim trunks. No matter how you plan to celebrate the 4th of July, it’s a good excuse to indulge in a cocktail.

Fourth of July themed cocktails are easy: anything that’s red, white or blue, anything that’s perfect for barbecuing, and/or anything that has any kind of American history or theme to it. After searching the World Wide Web and testing and changing some of the drink recipes, I’ve compiled a list of 4 cocktails, which are perfect for all those patriotic pool parties coming your way.
 

1. The Fourth of July

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Yes, there is actually a cocktail called the Fourth of July. It’s a layered drink with red, white and clear layers You can actually use cream in place of the vodka to make the clear layer white, but then two of the layers are non-alcoholic. It looks perfectly festive with the clear vodka layer.

 
Ingredients
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup water
• 2 ounces vodka
• 2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
• 4-6 cups ice
• 4 ounces blue raspberry vodka
• 3 ounces cherry vodka
 
Directions:
1. To make a simple syrup, combine sugar and water and heat in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Cool completely in refrigerator.
2. In a blender add clear vodka, lime juice, 2 ounces simple syrup, and 1½ cups of ice; blend on high until it reaches a “slush like” consistency, adding more ice if necessary. Pour into a container and place in the freezer. Next, in the blender add blue raspberry vodka, 2 ounces simple syrup, and 1½ cups of ice; blend on high until desired consistency is reached, and pour into a container and place in freezer. Then, in the blender add cherry vodka, 2 ounces simple syrup, and 1½ cups of ice; blend until desired consistency is reached and place into a container and place in freezer.
3. Let chill in freezer until ready to use.
4. To “assemble” drink layers, spoon some of the blue in the bottom of a glass, then white, then red on top.
 
2. The Hurricane
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This drink was invented in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and is definitely a little piece of Americana. It comes out a nice cherry red color and makes a wonderful choice for celebrating the Fourth of July. This is also a fun recipe, because the original version is very simple (two rums, a couple of fruit components) and you can add your own twist to make it special.
Ingredients:
• Strawberries
• Simple Syrup
• Cream de Cacao
• Blue Hurricane Mix
• Decorative straw
 
Directions:
1. Muddle 3 strawberries & simple syrup in a cocktail glass. (Note: start with about 1 tsp. of syrup and add more if needed – it just depends on the sweetness of your strawberries.)
2. Add ice, filling glass all the way to the top.
3. Use the back of a spoon to slowly and carefully add the Cream de Cacao to create the white layer. (the spoon “breaks the fall” to prevent the layers from mixing.
4. Finally, add the blue layer – the hurricane mix. Again, use the back of a spoon to slow down the liquid so it can sit on top of the Cream de Cacao.
5. Carefully add a straw and serve to your super impressed party guests. Happy Birthday, USA!

 
3. Watermelon Martini
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Here is a perfect cocktail for the Fourth of July, with fresh, juicy watermelon. Seedless watermelons are best for making this tasty beverage!
Serves: 2 cocktails
 
Ingredients
• ¼ cup sugar
• ¼ cup kosher salt
• 6 oz fresh watermelon juice (I used a seedless watermelon so mixed it in my food processor and then strained it through a metal strainer).
• 2 & ½ oz good vodka
• 2 & ½ oz Limoncello or orange liqueur
• 1 oz fresh lime juice
• Ice
• Watermelon wedges for garnish
 
Directions
1. Chill 2-3 glasses in your fridge or freezer 10 minutes before making the cocktail.
2. Combine the sugar and salt and spread it on a flat bread plate. Dampen the rim of your glass with water or lime juice and dip it in the sugar/salt mixture. (Save the leftover mixture for another occasion).
3. Combine the watermelon juice, vodka, liqueur and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 6-8 times.
4. Strain and pour the mixture into the prepared glasses and garnish with a watermelon wedge.
 

4. Coconut Blue Hawaiian
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It’s actually blue, and it has the name of a state in it. You can’t beat that for a Fourth of July celebration. This is a delicious tropical drink featuring orange, pineapple and coconut.
 
Ingredients:
• 2 shots rum
• 1 shot coconut rum
• 2 shots Blue Curacao liqueur
• 1/2 cup pineapple juice
• Juice of a half a lime
• Ice
• Cherries for garnish
 
Directions:
Pour the rum, coconut rum, blue curacao, pineapple juice, lime juice and ice into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until mixed.
Pour the drinks evenly into two glasses with fresh ice.
Garnish with a cherry if desired and serve cold
 
Pool Party Tips
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Throwing a great 4th of July Pool Party can be easy and fun if you follow some of my simple tips.
• Keep things light and simple with lots of drinks, salads and time in the pool.
• It’s hard to keep the kids hydrated because they never want to stop to drink anything, so I make sport ice pops. Give a kid a frozen pop and they’ll sit and eat it. I freeze some red white and blue sports drinks in plastic cups in the freezer in layers with Popsicle sticks. It works great and they love them.
• As you might guess, keeping adults drinking something is a lot easier, so I keep it super simple with a big-fruited lemonade. Just fill a big serving container with fresh fruit (fresh lemons, limes and berries) some store- bought lemonade mix and serve it up or let them help themselves. Fruit punch also works and you can serve vodka or rum on the side for a kick. (Drink responsibly)
• Ask everyone bring a side dish so I have less work to do.
 
Pool parties are about everyone getting wet, right? One great way to get everyone in the pool is a game.
Try the “Greased Watermelon” and everyone will be in the pool in no time. Get a large whole watermelon (the bigger the better) and rub a teaspoon of shortening or petroleum jelly all over it and put it in the pool.
Divide your guests into two teams at opposite ends of the pool. Drop the watermelon in the center. The teams have to rush to the watermelon, retrieve it, and bring it to the other team’s side first. Only one rule: you can’t lift it out of the water. The kids will start but the adults will take over in no time. It’s hard to resist.

Note: Author gathered images from http://mixthatdrink.com/fourth-of-july-cocktails/.

HELP! MY POOL HAS BEEN FLOODED!

So far 2015 is looking pretty good for Central Texas. It has been blessed with overwhelming amounts of rainfall, which has not only helped to fill our area lakes, but it has also lifted the drought status that has affected this region for nearly 7 years. However, with all the rainfall comes scenarios we may not be prepared for. One of which is the excess rainwater finding it’s way into our pools. Don’t fret – Easy pools can help!
 

For the do it yourselfer’s, you can follow these 8 steps to start –

  1. Carefully remove all solid debris from the pool.
  2. For in-ground pools, examine pool edges and the ground around the pool for damage.  For aboveground pools, inspect the pool structure.  Seek help from a professional pool builder or repair service to correct any structural problems.
  3. Ensure the pump motor is adequately dry before resuming operation.  Drain down any excess water from the pool.
  4. Use a flooding agent such as BioGuard’s PowerFloc® and vacuum the waste.  Flocculants are chemical compounds that when added to water cause suspended agents to sink.  Once settled on the bottom of the pool, the previously suspended articles can be vacuumed.
  5. Circulate the pool for 24 hours, and then test the pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness.  For chlorinated pools, apply a double dosage of a chlorinating shock product such as BioGuard’s Burn Out3® or Smart Shock®.  If using a non-chlorine, biguanide system such as BioGuard’s SoftSwim®, add both sanitizer and a double dosage of the shock product.  Circulate pool again for 24 hours.
  6. Monitor the chlorine level for the next 24 hours to ensure you can maintain a 1 – 3ppm level.  Add chlorinating shock as needed to maintain levels.  For biguanide pools, monitor sanitizer level (holding 40ppm) and shock levels (maintaining 40ppm – 60ppm) for 24 hours.  Add products as needed to maintain proper levels.
  7. Clean the filter using a cleaner such as Kleen It® or Strip Kwik®.
  8. After water is balanced and sanitizer levels are stable, you can resume use of the pool.

 
What really happens to my pool when severe weather conditions:
For starters, it is important to understand that a pool is a closed water system, which over time becomes more and more saturated and contaminated with elements from nature, chemistry, and bathers. Therefore the longer the water has been in the pool, the worse condition it is in, and the harder it is to balance and make safe.
 

In substantial rain or severe weather, a pool can reach that same level of contamination in just a few hours, rather than many years. This is particularly true if the rain causes a mudslide, or washes a significant amount of debris into the pool.
 

A scenario like this:

  • Can build an ideal breeding ground for bacteria that could be harmful or dangerous.
  • The extra material being washed into the pool can cause filters to clog up and pumps to slow down and work harder. Or worse, they may cause systems to shut off completely because of excessive strain, or power outage.

 
How to get it back in control?

If you have a well-balanced/maintained pool, the resolution is:
You simply need to increase the run times on your pool pump, check and balance the chemicals more frequently (more than once per week), and take steps to remove the phosphates. Under most circumstances, this is enough to keep your pool safe and problem-free. Even if the pool does develop a slight algae problem, it can usually be addressed and rebalanced in as little as 1 to 3 days.
 
If you DON’T have a well-balanced/maintained pool:

  • The time and expense to rebalance and sanitize your pool will be exponentially greater. So there are things you should look for:
  • PROPER TURNOVER RATE: A pool operating at the minimum level has an insufficient run time on the filter pump and does not achieve the required 3 turnovers per day.
  • BALANCING CHEMICALS: Not checking and balancing the chemicals weekly will cause long term problems that are expounded when the weather turns severe.
  • FILTER MAINTENANCE: If your filter is not maintained on a regular schedule, that too will cause greater issues in severe weather.

 
Bottom line – If you maintain your pool a minimum of 20 minutes per week, and make sure you have a fine balance between circulation, filtration, and the testing and balancing of chemicals, you’ve got the best shot at saving your pool, saving yourself time, and saving money to get it back on track.
 

In Emergencies – sometimes you just don’t know what to do.
(1) Turn off the equipment to prevent motor or filter problems, and
 
(2) Call Easy Pools!
Be sure to protect yourself and your loved ones – DO NOT GO SWIMMING IN A POOL THAT HAS NOT BEEN TREATED AND PROPERLY SANITIZED AFTER A BIG STORM. This is ESPECIALLY true if you cannot see the bottom! .
 
For more information, call Easy Pools at 512-266-6592
 
Online scheduling for maintenance and repairs is also available at www.EasyPools.com.

MAY IS WATER SAFETY MONTH

MAY 2015 BLOG – MAY IS WATER SAFETY MONTH

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The sun is shinning, the flowers are blooming and the sounds of children splashing in the pool have returned! I know I count down the days until I can throw my favorite swim suit on, grab my beach towel, and slip on my flip-flops…destination – poolside! Many of our favorite and most memorable summer pastimes are spent at the beach lakes, rivers and swimming pools. For most Americans, May is the first month we can finally hang up that winter coat and catch some rays, which makes sense as to why May is National Water Safety month. But don’t run to the nearest body of water without following these simple steps first!

EASY POOLS – WATER SAFETY RULES

  1. Never swim alone!
  2. If you don’t know how to swim, only swim with an adult who does.
  3. If possible only swim when a lifeguard is present.
  4. Wear a lifejacket or other life saving device approved by the United States Coast Guard.
  5. Only swim in places meant for swimming: pools, lakes, beaches. Avoid dams, swamps, and rapids. Never dive into water where you can’t see the bottom.
  6. If you see someone drowning, find a lifeguard or an adult who knows how to swim. Do not save anyone on your own, unless there is a flotation device near by that you can throw to the victim.
  7. Never pretend to drown.
  8. Never eat food or chew gum while swimming.
  9. Never push your friends in the water!
  10. Learn to swim!!

Many national organizations take water safety month very seriously and proactively promote the program on both a local and national level. The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals and its partners, the American Red Cross, the World Waterpark Association, and the National Recreation & Park Association will be building national awareness of this safety campaign with educational programs, public service announcements, governmental proclamations, dealer and business promotions, and the distribution of water-safety-themed materials to the public and participating organizations. You can learn more by visiting http://www.nationalwatersafetymonth.org/Consumers/SafetyTips.aspx

Winter & Spring – The effects on your pool…

While the swimming pool industry is a “skilled trade,” the technology we use is still relatively new. Other skilled trades such as auto mechanics, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical have been around much longer. And as a result, they’re not “breaking new ground” on new technology nearly as much as the swimming pool industry is.
This is very exciting to me because that means we’re just getting started on making this industry what it can be. Unfortunately, this also means there’s a lot of “trial and error” effort, and a lot of conflicting information. And in some cases, similar information is being delivered with different terminology, which just makes it more confusing.

 

For example, what would I get if I combined Dihydrogen Monoxide with Sodium Chloride?You would probably have no idea until you recognize that dihydrogen Monoxide is more often referred to as H2O, which is of course water. And Sodium Chloride is just good old-fashioned table salt. So mixing dihydrogen monoxide and sodium chloride will naturally give you “salt water,” which coincidentally is one of the most popular ways to sanitize your pool water.

 

I use this example because the swimming pool industry can be explained in much the same way. In general, it can be as simple as salt water. But there’s quite a bit of science behind swimming pool maintenance and construction. Which brings up another unique point about the swimming pool industry. Swimming pool maintenance and construction is actually a combination of MANY other skilled trades, including:

  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Construction
  • Chemistry
  • Electricity
  • Plumbing
  • Hydraulics
  • Electronics
  • Computer Automation

 

Not many other careers bring that many different disciplines into one job. Which once again, is why I enjoy this business so much.

 

For example, a true professional knows what “Total Dynamic Head” is, and how to measure the velocity of water in feet per second as it travels through pipe. He or she also knows the difference between “combined” and “free available” Chlorine, and how to achieve “break point.” They can measure the voltage drop in a piece of wire, and can explain the difference between grounding and equi-potential bonding. They would know what the “compressive strength” of concrete is, and how to reinforce it with steel, and what size and hardness steel to use, and how to space that steel appropriately before shooting the concrete.

So yes, the swimming pool industry is a broad combination of many different skills, sciences and disciplines. So with that much variety, how do you know who to listen to, and who has the right information? It probably seems to you like EVERYONE is an expert on swimming pools these days. (Or at least thinks they are.) And because the industry is so new, and because there are minimal barriers to prevent someone from calling themselves a “pool man,” it’s very difficult for most homeowners to figure out whether or not they are dealing with a reliable source of information.

 

Let me use a recent example of how frustrating this can be. I was recently called by one of my customers who was concerned about his pool chemistry. His next-door neighbor takes care of his own pool, and offered to come over and check my client’s pool. Since this neighbor maintains his own pool with no apparent difficulty, he is naturally presumed by my client to be a “pool expert.”

 

There’s just one problem. The neighbor maintains a traditional “plaster” pool of approximately 15,000 gallons. Our client’s pool is an 180,000 gallon monster made out of lava rock, and regularly heated. If you know anything about pools, you can already see how an amateur might use a home test kit, and make some assumptions about chemistry and “water balance” that might not be correct. And that’s exactly what happened in this case.

 

Now let’s give the neighbor some credit. He said “the water is unbalanced,” and technically, he’s correct. In fact, just about every single swimming pool in Austin Texas is “unbalanced” 99% of the time. That’s because a swimming pool is a dynamic and constantly changing environment. Rain, sunlight, shade, temperature, time of day, size of pool, type of interior finish, hydraulic flow, and a myriad of other issues – including how many hours since the last chemical adjustment – will produce a constantly changing result.

 

In fact, when testing water samples in the laboratory, it’s statistically impossible to achieve the exact same test results on the same water sample, even if you’re using the exact same test equipment!

 

As I often tell customers – swimming pool maintenance is never about being “perfect.”It’s about being “close enough” MOST of the time. There are far too many variables to measure and too many inconsistencies to ever be perfect. So we have to settle for working within a “safe range.” 

 

This issue comes into play a lot when bringing test samples into a local swimming pool store. The same water sample will show different results in different tests, no matter who is performing the test.

 

So back to the original question – Who do you trust? Well, I think it’s best to trust the person who doesn’t pretend to know everything there is to know. (Having all the answers isn’t the answer. But being able to FIND the answer – THAT’S what really matters.)

 

So I suggest you look for professionals who participate in ongoing education, and continuously work to increase their knowledge and improve their skills. One way to find those people is tolook for pool professionals who are active in the different swimming pool industry associations. Each of these organizations offer a variety of ongoing formal and informal education to their members, to keep them on the “cutting edge” of professional expertise.

 

In Texas, the most prominent associations include the Independent Pool and Spa Service Association (IPSSA), The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP), The National Plasterer’s Council (NPC), and The National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF). You’re generally going to be better off trusting information from members of those organizations than the “I taught myself” experts who are NOT members Weather is probably the single most powerful and unpredictable element affecting the cleanliness and functionality of your pool. Different types of weather bring forth their own challenges for swimming pools. Since it’s the beginning of February, let’s talk about three big “weather issues” that will affect your pool this time of year.

 

Freeze: As recent weather shows, we are by no means immune to sudden freezing temperatures. And the damage caused by freezing can be especially destructive and expensive to repair. (Naturally, it’s the expansion of frozen water in a closed vessel that damages pipes, valves, filters, heaters and pumps.) Fortunately, this damage can by prevented with a simple “freeze protector” which automatically turns on the equipment and circulates the water when it gets close to freezing.

 

If you don’t have a freeze protector, or aren’t sure, PLEASE CALL US. We can install one in a jiffy, and the cost is a LOT less than the typical cost of repairs.

 

Wind: Wind’s big impact on your pool or other waterscape is what it blows in. You’ll get not only leaves and dirt, but also smaller particles such as pollen, algae, dust, phosphates, and more. In fact, sometimes wind will blow in contaminants faster than you can remove them. A crystal clear pool can look dirty again in just a matter of hours. So here’s what you should do when it’s windy:

 

1. If you have an automatic cover, USE IT! (If you DON’T have one but you WANT one, let us know. We can give you quick estimate at no charge.)

2. Empty the baskets. You’ll be amazed how fast these fill up on a windy day. And as soon as they’re full, they stop working, which can make things SIGNIFICANTLY worse in a hurry.

3. Increase your pump running time, to give your filter time to remove the sudden influx of contaminants.

4. Check your water chemistry and adjust as necessary, to make sure it’s capably of sanitizing the water properly.

5. Use your net and/or vacuum to remove any additional debris.

6. Be prepared to REPEAT this process at least DAILY as long as the winds are high.

 

Rain: Even though we’re in a drought, we still (occasionally) get good solid rains that will play havoc with your pool’s chemistry. That’s because rainwater contains a lot more than just pure H2O. It brings Phosphates, Nitrates and other particles that are normally suspended in the air. It also runs off houses, decks, sidewalks, landscaping and more, bringing with it all kinds of additional contamination. Thus your pool needs to be checked and rebalanced chemically immediately after any good rain, to make sure it is safe for use.

 

NOTE: A well maintained pool will usually “bounce back” from a rain in less than 24 hours. But a poorly maintained pool could take days or weeks to recover. If you’re not spending at least 20 minutes per week maintaining your pool (or paying someone like us to maintain your pool), then you could be at risk of some very annoying “green” and/or “cloudy water” problems.

 

I hope the above information is helpful for you. As always, if you ever have questions about the maintenance of your pool – whether we’re maintaining it for you or not – please don’t hesitate to ask.
Here’s to your “Easy Life”!

 

Sincerely,

 

Rick Beaubouef.
Owner / Head Specialist, Easy Pools.